By on September 3, 2013

2013_SRT_Viper_--_2012_NYIAS

Post-bankruptcy Chrysler’s product plans have had more episodic changes than the Star Wars franchise, and Automotive News has the latest dirt on what’s going on at Auburn Hills.

Dodge is set to lose the most, with the Grand Caravan, Journey and Durango disappearing from the lineup. The Grand Caravan may live on in Canada, but Chrysler’s next minivan, as well as the next Journey, will become Chrysler products, while an all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer will take the place of the Durango. On the other hand, a rear-wheel drive vehicle bearing the Avenger nameplate is slated for 2015.

Chrysler’s larger rear-drive cars won’t get a refresh until 2015 at the earliest, while the planned 100C hatchback is dead in the water. An influx of Fiat based product will arrive with a subcompact Jeep and more commercial vans at Ram, while Fiat may see the Panda make its way over here (in a larger form that Europeans are used to).

And last but not least, confusion reigns at Alfa Romeo.

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60 Comments on “More Changes For Chrysler Product Plans...”


  • avatar
    IndianaDriver

    Which vehicles will end up with the ZF 8 & 9 speed transmissions?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    That looks alot like the new Stingray. Or visa versa.
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SJq72EZu2Zg/UPdb6BzrhSI/AAAAAAAAqPk/OqGE4wyKAxc/w506-h285/corvette.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Both look like they’re stealing from Ferrari, the 550 comes to mind but with more aggressive details.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the new Viper looks a lot like the very first Viper GTS coupe, which was a riff on the lines of the Shelby Cobra Daytona, which owed a certain debt to the Ferrari 250GTO (which was a big influence on the 1968 Vette), and the GTO took its own influences from even further back. They’re all playing from the same historical deck, really, and it’s kind of silly to suggest that anyone is ripping off Ferrari or Chevy or whatever here.

  • avatar

    I’m on pins & needles waiting for the Dart SRT.

    Hopefully Chrysler can build a RWD/AWD Avenger/200 using the Pentastar and ZF.

    I’m glad the refreshed 300/ Charger will take a while. I won’t be buying again till there’s an all new model. I’d like to see a Plug-in hybrid 300 SRT.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

      Reviews of the Dart GT are lukewarm. I’ve driven the 1.4T 6M and 2.0 A, and the 2.0 A had much better driveability but was still lackluster. The 1.4T is a total bust.

      Besides the Dart’s build quality and marginal value proposition, its problem is that everyone is waiting for the killer drivetrain (which never seems to be killer). The GT was supposed to be it. The SRT will probably be well over $25k, and that puts it in very competitive VW GTI territory.

      I wanted to like the Dart, but it’s disappointed me.

      • 0 avatar
        billfrombuckhead

        Where’s a lukewarm review of the Dart Gt and when have you driven one?

        Automotive News said Dodge was dead now they say something different. I think we can conclude they don’t have any idea what is going on at Chrysler

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          Or we can conclude, based on how many times their plans have changed, Chrysler has no firm, long term idea on what they want Dodge to be.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            The rwd d-class Dodge tells the story about where Dodge is going. It’s job is to give economy of scale to building rear wheel drive Alfas and to bring car enthusiasts and younger buyers to Chrysler.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            I question how viable of a strategy that is for Dodge long term. Car enthusiast are not enough to sustain a brand, at least one like Dodge, especially if they continue to remove the more exciting cars from the Dodge portfolio (Viper, possibly the Challenger). Ask Pontiac how much a midsize RWD sedan helped out. That is a very niche market.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX (formerly gslippy)

          Michael Karesh (TTAC alumnus) reviewed the GT here:
          http://www.truedelta.com/Dodge-Dart/car-reviews-W78

          I drove the other Darts last year. Both were fairly early production models.

          • 0 avatar
            billfrombuckhead

            I would say Karesh gave it a positive review and Chrysler lowered prices on a package basis for 2014 so the cost structure is very competitive with 2.4L stating at $18,495

            “In both how it looks and how it drives, the Dodge Dart GT is a big improvement over its sibs. Though the larger engine and retuned suspension don’t transform the Dart into a switchback-mastering pocket rocket, they do make it much more enjoyable to drive. The five-spoke 18-inch wheels are apparently what the exterior has been lacking, while red details add a healthy dose of visual excitement to the interior.

            Other strengths are carried over from other Darts. The controls are among the best in the entire industry. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find another car that feels as solid or includes as many features for the price.

            So, why not buy a Dart GT? Unfortunately front seat comfort hasn’t improved, while fuel economy has gotten even worse.

            But if these things don’t affect or bother you, and you find the Dart GT’s strengths attractive, then you know where to go.:
            http://www.truedelta.com/Dodge-Dart/car-reviews-W78

            All that solidity, extra airbags and features add weight. Someday there will be enough 9speed automatics available to put in Darts and the fuel economy will jump to the head of the class.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I much preferred the 1.4T over the 2.slow, but the 2.0L would be adequate for the economy car buyer.

        The 2.4L is a much better match for the car and is the motor to get. I was skeptical of the Dart before I tried each of the combinations, but after spending some time with it, it would be near the top of the list when it comes to compacts.

        I’m not sure what you’re getting at with the quality and value comments. The Dart is a pretty good value proposition compared to other compacts, but maybe not so much next to a discounted Avenger though. Quality is as good or better than the competition too…

        • 0 avatar
          Byron Hurd

          I’ve yet to drive a Dart I hated. The interior is a little too dark for me, but that’s not exactly unusual for the segment.

          • 0 avatar

            The Dart is the most technologically sophisticated car under $25,000 and arguably the best looking. The powertrain sucks because Chrysler isn’t good with small engine/ transmission matches. They need to go in the other direction: SRT4 option for the Dart, redesigned Avenger and 200c.

            I agree their interiors are bland. So far the only company with interior design on lockdown in this pricerange is Hyundai.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          The 2.4 will now be standard on SXT, GT and Limited.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Ram and Jeep are all that really matter over there in the long-run.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If true, I think these plans are probably the right move for Chrysler. Brand differentiation is important, and I think the Chrysler brand should be better utilized to move the volume products, while Dodge can be cultivated into a more sporting brand, selling sedan and coupe people movers with some performance cred. There’s no need to overlap the brands, separate them and cover more of the market with single vehicles instead of multiple vehicles overlapping.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Well color me surprised, it sounds like they really want to do this right. It makes sense for Dodge to have a rwd biased lineup, and opens up the brand to sell faster and/or less expensive versions of certain Chryslers. If, on the other hand, Dodge has a less expensive version of every single Chrysler than it just makes Dodge a cheap brand that means nothing (the recent state of affairs.) Chrysler isn’t upmarket enough to support a budget brand, and why would you waste the Dodge brand name for that purpose, Eagle, Plymouth and AMC could all be resurrected to perform that role.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    I don’t think they spent all that money to upgrade the Durango if they want to kill it so quick. I bet if the numbers keep going up on Durango sales that they will find room for the Grand Wagoneer and Durango.

    I don’t think the media isn’t really sure what is going on at Chrysler because Marchionne likes to emulate Apple and keep everyone guessing. I also think everything is a constant flux because of what goes on in Europe. I think there’s evidence that Dodge is being positioned as the affordable enthusiast carline and Chrysler the mainstream family carline. This would simplify and focus marketing especially in this internet age.

    What about a Chrysler Grand Caravan?

    • 0 avatar

      “I think there’s evidence that Dodge is being positioned as the affordable enthusiast carline and Chrysler the mainstream family carline.”

      Bingo. The “Chrysler Grand Caravan” is going to happen in Canada, because the GC is the 4th best selling vehicle here. They can’t throw that away. But from a US marketing standpoint, it’s hard to see how it would fit

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      I don’t understand why Dodge would get rid of the Durango. When I test drove third row suvs recently, the Durango is easily the best of the bunch. It wasn’t even close. Driving the Pilot back to back left me scratching my head as to whether the Pilot was really a Japanese car and the Durango an American. The only thing that concerns me is reliability and service quality of Dodge.

      • 0 avatar

        Remember, the Dodge is on a platform co-developed with Mercedes. Durango, Grand Cherokee and ML are mostly the same underneath.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        “I don’t understand why Dodge would get rid of the Durango.”

        US sales through July:

        Durango: 33,440
        Grand Cherokee: 95,815

        Yes the GC is smaller so it is harder to do a direct comparison, but the Durango’s sales are up almost 40% this year, which tells you how far in the toilet they were before. Chrysler is looking at boosting their strengths rather than trying to boost a struggling nameplate.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          Sales the last month were 5135 with 5 speed automatics. The improved 8 speed Durango should sell even better but the problem is the Durango shares the same factory with the wildly popular Grand Cherokee. If they made a diesel Durango that would also add sales.

  • avatar

    Sounds like they’re doing what GM could never do: specialize your brands and avoid overlap.

    Dodge goes performance, Chrysler is main line, Jeep is an SUV for every size and purpose, Ram is trucks, Fiat is “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” from the corporate portfolio.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    This is the first I’ve heard of this RWD Avenger. What information do we have on it? Anyone have a link? Sounds extremely interesting…

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      Go to Allpar and search engine rear wheel drive Avenger. It’s supposed to look like a Fusion hatchback on top the new Alfa Guilia platform and will accommodate the Tigershark, any Pentastar, the new 2.0L Hurricane turbo and any Hemi. Building this car allows Alfa to have enough economy of scale to make a profit. Sergio and Ralph have both alluded to this car.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So the zombie brand list seems to be expanding to include Lincoln, Scion, Mitisubishi and Lincoln, If Acura and/or Infiniti doesn’t get their acts together, they could be next to join the club.

    It appears Dodge is getting the AMC, Oldsmobile, Saturn, and Mercury treatment…………..fade……..

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    In the current global economic climate having a flexible approach might save your butt.

    Really, if there isn’t enough cash to warrant to many changes due to cost, then why make changes? Someone has to pay, will the US taxpayer want to pay again?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “…while an all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer will take the place of the Durango.”

    You had better do this properly, Chrysler. Don’t re-body something slightly upmarket from the GC and try and bill it as a whole new car.

    “On the other hand, a rear-wheel drive vehicle bearing the Avenger nameplate is slated for 2015.”

    Sorry, I associate the Avenger nameplate with a terrible FWD cheapo sedan, and before that a terrible FWD Mitsubishi coupe. No more Avenger name use. Just like no more Omni or Spirit use.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      A proper Grand Wagoneer should fit eight people and be able to crawl over snow drifts effortlessly.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It must also have a wood trim option, and look good parked anywhere in Connecticut or Maine.

        It must NOT have a RAM grille. It must NOT have chrome wheels. It must NOT be a CUV. It must be SQUARE. No hybrid option.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I’ve always pictured the Grand Wagoneer either towing the family boat or packed with skiing/snowboarding gear, so it has to have good towing capacity and lots of cargo space.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “You had better do this properly, Chrysler. Don’t re-body something slightly upmarket from the GC and try and bill it as a whole new car.”

      From what I understand, the team responsible for the new Wagoneer has spent some time at the Wagonmaster shop that makes a business out of restoring and remarketing Wagoneers to get a good feel of what a Wagoneer should be.

      It’ll still likely be JGC based, but the fact that they sent a team of people to meet with the Wagoneer experts is reassuring.

  • avatar
    ehaase

    The Automotive News article said that Dodge would get a crossover but gave few details. While Chrysler gets the Journey replacement, it appears Dodge gets a larger crossover based upon the minivans platform.

  • avatar

    Welcome to planning Italian style! Nothing to see here folks.

    As a long term top suit at Fiat Brasil commented to me about Fiat products and production, “I only believe the car is coming when I see t rolling down the line in pre-production. Even then, everything can change”.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      And that was with Sergio personally reviewing 40 reports at a time? Uh-oh. It sounds like Auburn Hills is going to see an exodus of talent like the ones driven out by Daimler 13 years ago. I’ll never again slam GM for paying $5 billion to NOT take over Fiat.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not all bad. When a company is run like this, there can be real changes, really fast when the market warrants it. Think for example of the relatively quick changes made to the 200 and 300, making them that more palatable and not letting them go stale, like so many Detroit cars. For example, if the current Taurus was a Fiat product, you could bet that it’d have been tweaked to make it more attractive.

        Of course, it’s not for everyone and to make it work you need a lot talent and more than a little luck. It’s a shock I’m sure to many at Chrysler but Americans are more pliable than, say, Germans. Some could thrive under such a regime.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    Allpar says new 200 pilots are now being built and they look like the picture on their homepage. Headlights are the same as the 300 and Grand Cherokee. 2,4L TigerShark 4 cylinders and 3.2L Pentastar V6′s hooked up to ZF 9 speeds will power this Sterling Heights Michigan built car.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Strada-based Rampage please!

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Does Dodge even have a future? Are there any new products coming? At least the dealers have Ram to keep their doors open. Unless oil prices spike when our next pointless war starts next week.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    The Durango is getting updated immediately with 8 speed automatics for Pentastar and Hemi as well as new lighting front and rear.

    Immediately Dart middle and top of the line models get new 2.4L Tigershark 4 cylinders.

    Present Grand Caravan and Avenger models are extended for at least another year.

    Summer 2014 Dodge Challenger gets a redo with a new platform underneath it, upgraded available 6.2L Supercharged Hemi and slightly new styling. All Challengers get new electronics and 8 speed automatics.

    2015-2016 Charger gets redone on Maserati Ghibli platform

    2016 Avenger gets replaced with a Alfa Romeo Guilia based rear wheel drive 4 door hatchback.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    The waffling in the future plan is typical for Fiat, and by extension, their various subsidiary companies. I know this because I work at one.

    From what I’ve seen over the last 10-12 years of Fiat stewardship is not that the product has a future road map; it’s that the plans change when the big Fiat parent or the Italian based subsidiaries are in financial trouble. When that happens, large portions of the profits are skimmed off to keep the Italian ship afloat.

    This is also why CNH was hoovered up and fully integrated into Fiat Industrial, and why Fiat automotive is so anxious to complete the Chrysler purchase. It will be vastly simpler to divert money from the winners to the losers. And because the money must be funneled to the parent, there is far less available for American product R & D.


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